Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 03 - "Shipwrecked"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

laughing in hindsight

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy - Published: 2008-10-01 - Updated: 2008-10-01 - 910 words - Complete

“…When I realized that there were two of them, I thought I was dead for sure!” Max told Justin. “I thought I had everything well in hand, but I hadn’t planned on two of them.”

“Damn, Max!” Justin laughed. “You’re nuts!”

And not for the first time in this particular conversation. After a while Justin had tired of telling Max about his life in the Triangle State for the time being, so Max was telling him about his confrontation with the devilfish. He still wasn’t quite sure if Max was pulling his leg, but if it was true, then as far as he was concerned that made his new friend either the boldest person he knew, or the stupidest, he couldn’t make up his mind which. Of course, Max had promised to show him the creatures’ beaks later.

Since breakfast, they had walked a considerable stretch of the beach as they talked. Max was giving his new friend a literal tour of his world, and Justin was giving Max a narrative tour of his. Bandit, of course, was still keeping his distance from Justin, but at least he wasn’t acting so jumpy anymore. Max took that as a good sign.

“Well,” Max told him, “I promised my father I’d give his laser sword back, you know… in case I ever ran into him again.”

“I still say you’re crazy,” Justin replied.

“Besides,” said Max, “It would’ve been a lot harder to survive here without it. And I needed to figure out a way to keep using the pond again, anyway.”

“So how did you get out of that?” Justin wanted to know how Max managed to best a big bad devilfish when he was out of ammo. Of course, he could have told Max to change power clips; where he came from, going in half-assed will get you killed. But he was far more interested in hearing how Max got out of this one.

“For a moment, I thought I was gonna die,” said Max. As he had gone on with his story, he began to realize how easy it was to laugh about a life-or-death situation that now lay behind him. No mistake, he had been terrified back then— one with any less fortitude or strength of will would likely have soiled himself— but only a hint of that fear lingered now. “It’s just, I went though so much trouble— I even got Dad’s laser sword back— I just couldn’t give up without a fight. I don’t know what came over me, but the fear just… went away. I just attacked the devilfish with my laser sword and chopped it to pieces. I saw my chance and took it.”

Justin walked along quietly for a moment. He had seen a dead creature hanging in the market-place on Benton Island that matched Max’s description of a devilfish, only where he came from it was called an octopus. And he had overheard the stories of some of the seafarers who lived there, and those who passed through.

Then he paused, saying, “Wait a minute! I thought you said the laser sword was out of power.”

“It was,” Max told him, “but it’s a pulse weapon, remember? Just like your laser staff.”

“Oh yeah.” Justin had always found his staff to be a useful practice weapon, for no other reason than that it never completely ran out of power

He had practiced with both the rifles and pistols in his hideout, but had to use “spark shots” because he couldn’t afford to waste power clips. It was a tedious process, loading a clip, then unloading and firing a shot with the latent “spark” of energy left in the weapon. He had to move quickly, because the spark wouldn’t linger for long, and it scarcely left a mark on whatever it hit. (Didn’t have much in the way of range, either.) Even so, he had discovered that he had a natural talent, and he had continued to perfect his aim.

Justin smiled to himself. Later on, he would have to show his new friend just how good a shot he was.

“So how good are you with a staff?” Max asked.

Justin couldn’t come up with an immediate answer to that one; his usual bravado had deserted him when it came to this matter. Until his final days in the Triangle State, he would have fancied himself pretty damn good. But after Trevor’s little reality check, he didn’t feel so hot about his staff-fighting skills. And Max had said that he trained with a staff. Given how tough he was hand-to-hand…

“I know!” said Max, excitement written all over his face. “We can spar against each other later!” It had been years since Max had faced another opponent. This would be a great opportunity to see just how far he had come in his training.

“Uh, yeah,” Justin replied, hoping Max wouldn’t beat him too bad.

“Hey Justin!” said Max, veering over into the foliage, “There are some good berries in here. Wanna stop for lunch?”

“Sure. Why not.”

So they stopped for lunch, and Max told him that later he would show him both of the devilfish beaks he had kept as both tools and trophies, and Justin, wanting to change the subject from sparring, agreed to resume his tale.
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